Read ’em if you got ’em: cigarette vending machine modded to sell books

Paul Raven @ 23-07-2010

Here’s a novel bit of repurposing. Thanks to stricter laws on verifying the age of tobacco buyers, masses of Germany’s old cigarette vending machines will be obsolete by the end of the year. But rather than consign them to the scrapheap, German publishing company Hamburger Automatenverlag has modded them to sell literature instead:

The repurposed machines carry a series of condensed novels, photo books, graphic novels and collections of poetry by local authors — all designed to be exactly the same size as a packet of cigarettes. The idea is to get people into the habit of reading as opposed to smoking.

As smoking prevention plans go, I doubt it’ll be a roaring success, but I do like the idea of books on sale in the sort of unusual locations that cigarette machines might be found. I also like the idea that conversions like this are like miniature versions of what Bruce Sterling has taken to calling “stuffed animals” – relics of the past, stripped out and repopulated with the needs of the present. Cigarette machines, Victorian-era bank buildings… who knew there was a connection?

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One Response to “Read ’em if you got ’em: cigarette vending machine modded to sell books”

  1. Jack Deighton says:

    Weren’t Penguin Books when they first arrived in the 1930s sold through vending machines?